Thursday, February 04, 2010

Groundhog Day in Uruguay

While people in the States were figuring out if there'd be more winter, here in Uruguay, February 2 is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, Yemanja.  It had been threatening to rain all day, but held off for this event.  This first picture is of the rides at Parque Rodo, all lit up and going full blast.  It was a night of celebration.
 The idea of Yemanja is to give offerings to the sea.  Part of that is digging holes in the beach at Playa Ramirez and lighting candles in the bottom.  People spent all day on the beach making holes and other things - usually boats - for the offerings in the sand.

Not the best of shots, but it shows the size of the crowd and that it really was right on the shore.

Dressing in white robes seems to be part of the ritual for some, and here they're preparing a styrofoam boat to launch with offerings out into the river.

Here, a lot of lit holes in the ground.  They looked pretty dotted randomly down the beach, but were treacherous when the light went out.  I'm sure there were a lot of wrenched ankles before the night was through.

Communing, offering prayers, I don't know, but many people sat by their holes contemplatively.  A lot of the ones who did were stoned, so it might have been vegetatively.

This was one of the more elaborate set ups.  You can see the offerings of food in the front.

And this one was very big too.  It had a gathering of people all the way around it.  It was a very peaceful crowd with little jostling and such.  The sight of all those candles lit was just amazing.  This festival is held on different dates in places like Cuba, Brazil and some of the Caribbean islands.  If you get a chance to go, do.


Casa Pearl said...

A much more interesting celebration than Ground Hog Day! Thanks for sharing things from your part of the world.

Meg said...

Thanks for liking them!

Cat said...

Is Yemanja the same as Yemaja?
They sound very similar.